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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Defendant`s Dad: `I`ve Lied This Whole Time`

Aired August 05, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Breaking news tonight. Will a demonic dad`s foul-mouthed testimony spell doom or freedom for his teenage son on trial right now?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.

This blockbuster witness in a boy`s murder trial, his own dad. And this guy, so disrespectful, dropping "F" bomb after "F" bomb on the witness stand as he tells the jury he alone, not his son, viciously beat a 14-year- old boy to death and then dumped his body in a ditch in Louisville, Kentucky.


JOSHUA GOUKER, CONVICTED MURDERER: I told you I done it. I admitted everything I done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He goes by the nickname Big Josh.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gouker pinned Trey`s murder on his son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can tell you that the little boy is just as vicious as his daddy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joshua Young was arrested for beating Trey Zwicker to death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Little Josh had said that he did it and that he used a slugger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just as terrified of Josh Young as I was of Josh Gouker.

J. GOUKER: I know what you`re doing. You`re trying to make microscopic little holes in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you set your son up to kill Trey Zwicker?

J. GOUKER: No, absolutely not.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, Cassie, the kissing cousin, her testimony pretty much done for the day.

Initially, dad "Big Josh" Gouker blamed -- get this -- African- American teens for the murder of Trey Zwicker. Then he pointed the finger at his young son, Little Josh predicting, well, he`s a boy. He`s going to get off easy because he`s a minor.

Well, now that his son is on trial as an adult and could go to prison for life, dad changes his story yet again, insisting "I killed the boy all by myself."

He`s a pathological liar. Do we believe him?

The prosecutor admitted -- the prosecutor admitted she had absolutely no clue what this lying, cursing dad from hell was going to say when she called him to the witness stand.


J. GOUKER: I know what you`re doing. You`re trying to make microscopic little holes in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that I didn`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about two years ago. So how can I tell you the exact thing now when I really didn`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) then?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you`re telling the truth, it shouldn`t be too hard.

J. GOUKER: I`m (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Yes, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) but I`ve lied this whole (EXPLETIVE DELETED) time except since arraignment. Since arraignment court I`ve told you I`ve done it; I`ve admitted everything I`ve done. I`ve been sentenced for it. Life in prison.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Also on the stand, just wrapping up her testimony, a little while ago, Big Josh`s kissing cousin Cassie Gouker. These first cousins admit to sleeping together, having sex together around the time of the murder.

And we`re just getting pictures of the Dumpster where cousin Cassie testified she helped Little Josh toss a bloody bat and bloody clothes the night of the murder. Those items never found.

So is she telling the truth? Or is Cassie perhaps covering up for her cousin/lover? What a mess.

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. This foul-mouthed father -- I call him Hell Dad -- called by the prosecution. First of all, why the heck did the prosecution call him? He didn`t really help them. They`re trying to put his son on trial. He insisted, "Oh, I killed the stepson on my own without my son`s involvement." So why on earth did the prosecution even call him? And I`ll start with Brian Silber.

BRIAN SILBER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The answer is very simple, Jane. It`s a preemptive strike. If she didn`t call this horrible witness, the defense would. So it`s better for her to keep control of her case, stay on top of things, and deal with them before they`re dealt with by her. OK?

By dealing with this first up and getting in there and controlling the questioning and trying, at least on some level, to control the answers, she`ll be better off than letting the defense attack her with it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Areva, you look very concerned, and you should be given -- given this motley crew.

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: You know, I think one of the things that happened today is, is so much reasonable doubt about, you know, the son even being involved in this murder. We`ve heard so many stories, from African-American teens to the son doing it to now the dad saying he did it by himself.

The cousin`s a nightmare; the dad`s a nightmare. My heart just goes out to the son, because he`s a part of this family. He didn`t choose to be.

But look at who his dad is. His dad was willing to throw him under the bus, have him take a rap for a murder, and now conveniently says he was not involved in it. You can`t believe anything this dad said. You can`t believe the cousin, who`s having sex with her own biological cousin. So hearts out to this poor child who`s in the middle of this mess.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, speaking of sex, there`s a lot of sex. This night of the murder, ironically, this ex-con dad from hell, Big Josh, the guy you`re looking at there, tells the jury exactly how he murdered his stepson, Trey Zwicker, a 14-year-old innocent, insisting he did it all without his son`s help, and he didn`t seem fazed at all by this hideous crime. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that`s when you snapped?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said you hit him, and he went down?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when he went down, the metal bar was still in his hand. So you punched him to knock him down?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that how you knocked him down? OK. And then the bar was still in his hand, but you stepped on his hand and took the bar out?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then you hit him, and before you knew it, it was over?

J. GOUKER: Yes. That`s a good version, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s a good version?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And then you said that you rinsed the pipe off in the water.

J. GOUKER: Creek.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The creek water down there? You need to answer.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So given that the victim`s mother testified that she was having sex with Big Josh that very night and smoking a blunt, how does Big Josh end up at the crime scene behind the local high school if he`s either having sex with the victim`s mother or sleeping off a pot high?

And I want to go to Jean Casarez about that, because the timeline doesn`t add up. You`ve had the mother of the victim saying, "I was having sex and videotaping sex with this monster, Big Josh," right at the time that the very night around the time that he`s saying "I killed this kid."

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: I don`t see the time. He was too busy doing other things. And you know, Jane, between those episodes of sex, they went to the Circle K, and there was surveillance video of the Circle K showing them there. So that corroborated Amanda`s testimony as she was telling what the events of the evening were. I don`t see the time factor either.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s the Circle K. They had sex before going to the Circle K.

CASAREZ: And after.


CASAREZ: And after.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then after they get home from the Circle K, they have sex again. And at what point do they videotape with a cell-phone camera themselves having sex? And is that, Jean, an attempt for Big Josh to establish an alibi before he decided he wanted to confess to this?

CASAREZ: In his own mind, maybe. I think it was after. I think it was after the return from the Circle K. But remember, Amanda said that Gouker went to sleep about 1, started to snore. She went to sleep a little after 1:30.

He would have had to have woken up and gone into that house and found Trey and got Trey up? I mean, how does that work? There`s no evidence of that, really.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then, according to several witnesses, Little Josh confessed to more than one person that he was the one who killed his stepbrother, Trey. And his dad`s kissing cousin, Cassie, who lives just down the block, says the boy, Little Josh, went to her house sometime after 1:30 in the morning on the night of the murder with bloody clothes and a bloody bat and says, "Help me dispose of the evidence." Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened later that night?

CASSIE GOUKER, COUSIN OF JOSHUA J. GOUKER: Well, I was asleep. And about, I guess, 1 a.m. or so, he come up to the steps, Josh Young, and said, "I killed Trey. You need to help me -- or take me to take the stuff." I thought, you know, he was just saying that to get me up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you get up then?

C. GOUKER: After -- after a few times, I did get up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, and Big Josh is also on and off again having sex with that lady.

There`s the Dumpsters where she claimed she took Little Josh, and they threw away the bloody items and the bloody bat that was never found.

So back to the Lion`s Den. Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor, if -- if the boy is dropping off evidence at about 1:32, and Dad is snoring off a blunt high and sex in bed, how does Dad have time to go down, commit this crime and -- I don`t get the timeline, and the prosecution hasn`t done a very good job of outlining any timeline. It`s a mess.

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I agree with you. That`s the problem that the prosecution is going to have. They don`t have a story to tell the jury this is what happened.

But I do think that, by putting Josh Gouker, Big Josh, on the stand, they`re going to show that he`s a liar, that his version doesn`t make sense, and that it doesn`t match the evidence. They`re going to talk about what you and Jean just talked about, that the Circle K, the timing doesn`t match, and it only makes sense that Little Josh, Josh Young, was the killer. That`s why he was bragging about it, and that`s why he disposed of clothes.

I agree that they`re not telling a great story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Danny Cevallos. Danny.

MARTIN: Jane, let me say this.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: First of all, yes. At the end of this...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Danny.

CEVALLOS: Let me say this. At the end of this case, what happen is the judge will tell the jury, you can either -- if you find someone not credible, you can either accept part of their testimony or discard all of it.

And the thing you need to understand is a guy like Gouker, who has spent his better part of his life in the system, has developed a magnificent, breathtaking ability to stretch the truth. Will the jury see through that? Will the court see through that? That remains to be seen.

But his ability to spin a yarn should not be discounted. This is a guy who knows his way around the system, knows what he has to say, and will say it, even though it flies in the face of a clearly established timeline that is buttressed by digital and all other kinds of evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he has been in the system so long, you are looking at many, many -- as you speak, Areva, look at the many faces of Big Josh Gouker, because he starts out young and thin, and he gets heavier and older and tougher looking, and at one point, he`s got this weird, I don`t know, braid coming out of his beard. There he is younger. But he`s been in the system long enough that I didn`t even recognize who is this? And then, you know, they told me in my ear, that`s Josh Gouker, Big Josh. Go ahead, Areva.

MARTIN: And I just want to point out that the prosecution`s case is not that Little Josh killed his stepbrother but that he aided, abetted his dad in committing the murder. So they`re not putting the murder weapon into Little Josh`s hands as much as they`re saying he was with his dad, helping in the murder.

And, you know, one of the things that Big Josh said that`s so troubling, Jane, about this case is, he said his motive was a baby for a baby, that Amanda had aborted a baby that she was carrying that belonged to him, that he was the father of. And in exchange for her having that abortion, he killed her only son.

SILBER: Here`s the problem.

MARTIN: That`s what so troubling about this case, is the level of dysfunction in this family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Brian.

SILBER: Yes, I disagree with what she`s saying to a certain extent. You know, the prosecution raises the question in this case. You know, they say that this kid aided and abetted the dad, but they failed to fill in the gap: What exactly did he do? What evidence do they have? Did he hold him down? Did he strike the victim?


SILBER: Did he do something else that resulted in his death?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unfortunately, there were no video cameras videotaping the entire event, so prosecutors, unlike defense attorneys, can`t just make stuff up. They`ve got to just present the evidence and ask the jury to connect the dots.

On the other side of the break, we have so many exclusive guests. We have the wrestling coach, the former wrestling coach of this young defendant, who`s going to give us his insight into the boy`s psyche. Is he a killer or a victim, this baby-faced killer, as they called him? Is he a victim of his dad? That`s just getting started. More on the other side.


J. GOUKER: How do you not see it? This late in the game? I mean, all`s I had to do was convince that guy right there, which I did. You know what I`m saying? He draped his arm around me. I was on "`The First 48` 19 times," you know, and I`m doing the right thing. And the whole time I`m just -- every time I call him, he would do this. And every time I tell him to come here, he would do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re the mastermind.

J. GOUKER: I mean, you can call it what you want. It`s not easy to be a mastermind when you`re dealing with dumb people. I mean, that guy couldn`t find (EXPLETIVE DELETED) at a strip club.




J. GOUKER: I knew they wanted to put a mask on this monster fast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what they did was started talking about this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) from Bridgewood.

J. GOUKER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That seems to tickle you. That was No. 1, right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had the whole neighborhood about to start a race war over this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paranoia was pretty high.

J. GOUKER: Yes. I figured there`d be other people get killed behind this probably.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, this sicko, this creep is the father of this guy. He`s chuckling because he tried to blame a bunch of African-American teenagers, and you saw that created tension in the community. Turns out they had nothing to do with it.

Now, would any of this, this nightmare, have occurred had this young boy been able to stay in a stable, loving foster home where he was thriving and getting into computers? His dad, Big Josh, got out of prison, and he explained how he fooled Child Protective Services into giving him custody of his 15-year-old -- 15-year-old -- son who`s now on trial for conspiracy or abetting murder. Just months after he got out of prison. Listen to this.


J. GOUKER: I think after that very first meeting they believed me. They, you know, I cried (EXPLETIVE DELETED) like that. They was -- they believed me for years. Angie and all them telling them what a monster -- you know, I was a monster and all this (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, he managed, this guy managed to turn on the charm. I don`t know. I don`t see any charm. But he managed to turn on the charm and tell Child Protective Services "I`m going to be a good daddy." He said he`d turned on the tears and he got his son.

Just a couple of months after he got his son, there`s another boy who lives in the house who`s dead. And now his son is on trial and could go to prison for life.

Our exclusive guest, in a primetime exclusive, coach Ozell Wilson, the young defendant, Josh Young`s former wrestling coach out of Louisville, Kentucky.

Thank you for joining us, Coach Wilson. I guess the bottom line is if we show the pictures of the actual defendant right now, I would like to know whether the portrait -- this is the victim. This is the young man who was viciously beaten to death. But if we show the photos of this kid, the kid who`s accused of viciously beating the other kid, his stepbrother, to death, I want to know from you, do you think he had it in him?

Because some people say he was innocent. He`s baby-faced. Look at him, he`s a little boy. Others say he was just as sadistic as his dad. He looked up to his dad and wanted to be as bad as his very bad dad. What do you say, Coach Wilson?

OZELL WILSON, JOSH YOUNG`S FORMER WRESTLING COACH: First of all, I`d like to say thank you for this opportunity. I`m here as an advocate for Josh.

The thing that I know about Josh was that he was a very quiet kid. He was a very hard worker in practice, and he brought it every day. He wasn`t necessarily the best wrestler on the team, but he was arguably the hardest worker.

And he kind of kept to himself. And honestly, I mean, I can`t really speak as to whether or not he done this or not, but it`s hard for me to buy it, honestly. I can`t see him doing something like that, no ma`am.


WILSON: Just because of his demeanor. I mean, he kept to himself. He was just a kid who, you know, was being a kid. He, like I said, he enjoyed wrestling, and it was a situation that, you know, unfortunately, he didn`t last the entire season.

Just for myself as a coach, I look at myself not only as a coach but as a mentor, as a friend. And somebody that, you know, the kids...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you try to mentor this young defendant before his dad got his paws on him?

WILSON: He was -- he was pretty much in a good situation, as I said, with the current foster parents that he was with. So, you know, my influence was, you know, little if any.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this question. I`ll jump in, because we`re lacking in time. Did you notice any change when he began living with his father, and supposedly, his dad starting plying him with pot, showing him sex videos of the dad having sex with females, doing all sorts of inappropriate things, making Josh -- Little Josh videotape Big Josh beating an animal to death, allegedly. Did you see this boy change after he went to live with his father?

WILSON: No, ma`am, I didn`t notice a change, but again, it was a situation where he didn`t last the whole season. And so I would see him here and there. I would speak, ask him how he was doing, check on him, and everything seemed to be normal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But just to jump in, and I`m sorry to jump in, but didn`t he quit the team soon after he went to live with his dad?

WILSON: Yes, but again, that`s not necessarily -- I don`t equate that to, you know, anything related to the relationship with his father. For the simple fact that, with wrestling being such a demanding sport, you know, it`s not uncommon for individuals to not make it through the entire season. So I can`t attribute it to that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Coach Wilson, I want to thank you for joining us exclusively. I appreciate your candor and your honesty.

I personally see, when somebody dropped out of something and they had been performing in it, I don`t think there`s a coincidence that he goes to live with his dad and then, in short order, he drops out of this very important positive program that this coach was bringing him, an ability to be a team player, all of the things that you learn through sports.

No. His dad gave him another agenda and put in his mind that being a man is being a sadist. OK? And this kid had said that he idolized his father. He told cops he wanted to live with his dad, even though the cops said, "Well, is it great that now you`re in this big trouble and the stepbrother is dead?"

And he said, "I wanted to be with my father," because kids love their dads. They love their parents pretty much unconditionally.

On the other side, more exclusive guests. The victim`s grandmother and aunt.


AMANDA MCFARLAND, VICTIM`S MOM: Go to the gas station and buy cigarettes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you get to the gas station?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After you all went to the Circle K, what happened?

MCFARLAND: Went back to our house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what did you do when you got home?

MCFARLAND: We were intimate again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Earlier, did you say that Gouker fell asleep around 1:30?

MCFARLAND: Between 1 and 1:30.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So when did you go to sleep?

MCFARLAND: Shortly after.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long do you think you watched TV?

MCFARLAND: Maybe 10, 15 minutes.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cassie Gouker drove police to an apartment complex about 13 minutes from the victim`s home. She also showed police a Dumpster where she says Young threw out a plastic bag and a bat. Prosecutors say the murder weapon and the bloody clothes were never found.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who killed innocent 14-year-old Trey Zwicker? The baby-faced defendant or his monster Hell Dad?

If you look into past deviant behavior many sadistic killers, you will find they tortured animals at some point. Big Josh is no exception.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You admitted to hurting some animals during that statement, didn`t you?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You admitted to beating a dog to death?

J. GOUKER: I mean, it was just one black (ph). You all make it sound more sinister than it was. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and everything. It was broke; it was a broke dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... now that you beat a dog to death?

J. GOUKER: Yes, I`ve been sentenced for it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You beat a cat? You killed a cat and threw him away?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a creep. The face of evil.

Tara Zwicker, first of all, I want to welcome you and Leeda Zwicker to our show. Thank you for joining us. And my condolences over your loss of your precious Trey Zwicker, 14 years old. An innocent, kind, compassionate boy by all accounts, a sharp contrast to this hellish father.

Tara, what do you know about, for example, this animal torture issue? And was Josh, the young defendant, involved in it in any way, shape, or form, to your knowledge?

TARA ZWICKER, VICTIM`S AUNT: I only know what I`ve been told, but I do believe what I was told was true. And -- and as far as the beating of the animals, I don`t know about both of them. I know for sure one of them. He was the one on the other side of the camera. And camcording it and laughing while the -- Josh Gouker, the dad, actually was the one beating the animal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying that the young defendant, the son, was videotaping the dad beating the animal and laughing from behind the camera. Is that correct?

T. ZWICKER: That is correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that says a lot. That says that, first of all, the father is morally corrupting the son, and the son, in his desperation to win his father`s approval and knowing his father`s an ex-con, might start behaving in a sadistic manner to try to be like dad. We do imitate our parents, either intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or subconsciously.

Now, Big Josh Gouker`s awful behavior in the stand put him in the No. 1 spot for absolute worst father ever. He told the jurors he barely loved his son, the young defendant. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you love your son, Josh Young?

J. GOUKER: I mean, this is going to make me sound like a piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You got to think that I don`t know him.


J. GOUKER: I mean -- Much as I can love, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you give your life for your son, Josh Young?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. He wouldn`t give his life for his son. This man is one really demented, evil person. But that doesn`t mean that the defendant, his son, who`s on trial, wasn`t complicit. That`s what the jury has to decide.

Leeda Zwicker, you are the grandmother of the victim, this 14-year-old Trey Zwicker, who by all accounts, was a gentle, kind young man. Do you have a sense that the young Josh, Little Josh, as they call him, the young defendant, the son of this monster was becoming more callous in his father`s presence after his father got ahold of him and was perhaps bullying your grandson?

LEEDA ZWICKER, GRANDMOTHER OF VICTIM: I don`t know if there was bullying. I just knew they didn`t get along. Trey wasn`t a big fan of Josh Young`s.

Trey didn`t tell us a lot when we asked questions, because he knew his father would pull him from the home and away from his little sister, whom he was there to protect.

You know, it`s -- it`s horrible for us to say that, you know, Trey`s gone; we`ll never get him back. And that we`re sitting in the courtroom watching Gouker today with his testimony that was unbelievable.

And Josh Young turns and looks at the camera and looks at all of us and then, when he realizes he`s on TV, hangs his head like he`s, you know, sorrowful or innocent or what have you. It`s just not believable or buyable for me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying this young, baby-faced defendant is not as innocent as he looks. Correct?

L. ZWICKER: No. And on trial, I mean, I`m sure his defense team has got him dressed like a little boy and shaved like a little boy, but I think in future, future days to come, you all will see video of him in a different light.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, stay right there. Again, we want to hear more of what you have to say. You have lost a priceless child. You have lost more than any of us. We can`t comprehend what you`re going through as a grandmother of the victim. And we want to hear more from you.

Stay right there. More on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, we`re here to hold Josh Young accountable for his role in the murder of Trey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defense says no. It was just the dad, Josh Gouker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was set up by his father to take the fall for this crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never know what`s going to happen inside this Kentucky courtroom. This is HLN: The Joshua Young Trial.




JOSH GOUKER, CONVICTED KILLER: It just felt right at the time, but that wasn`t why I did it. I mean, it`s not like I wanted Trey to die or if I could do it over I`d kill him again -- none of that. You know?

I mean his mother killed a couple of mine. And it just felt right. I mean I know it sounds monstrous and all that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) but it`s not. If we was in the Old Testament, it would be the same thing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, this is -- it is monstrous. It sounds monstrous because it is monstrous. He`s referring to the victim`s mother, the mother of the poor child who was murdered and he`s saying he aborted -- he killed her son, her 14-year-old son because she had an abortion of a child they had conceived together.

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den". I mean, this man is -- is one of the most monstrous individuals -- and we`ve had a lot of monstrous individuals lately in the news including Ariel Castro.

But Danny Cevallos, I have not heard anybody quite as sort of proudly evil as this man in a long time.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there`s also the part that we have to consider that is he also playing it up? Is he sort of bolstering his own evil to demonstrate to a jury or demonstrate to a fact- finder that he is possibly the guy? Look, if he`s trying to take the hit for his son, this is sort of his own way of being ingenious about it, make myself as evil as possible. We have to consider that possibility.

The reality is, we already know -- and I know you picked up on this Jane -- that abuse of animals which is a big issue with you is a clear indicator of somebody who has some pretty bad tendencies.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I agree with you. Ok.


BRIAN SILBER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: However, the reality is, the reality is that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian? What do you say?

SILBER: I was just going to say there`s absolutely nothing genius about this guy. I agree with you. I think he`s probably a psychopath. The thing that bothers me the most that sticks with me, as he testifies, he`s too comfortable with these gruesome horrible things. And that`s what leads me to believe that he might be missing that conscience that a psychopath doesn`t have. You know?

It`s not what he`s saying. I don`t think he`s so calculatingly intelligent. If that was the case, he wouldn`t be where he is right now. I think he`s a plain old psychopath without a conscience.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Kelly Saindon, they could both be right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: He could be a psychopath and he could also in some perverse way try to be clever and take the hit for his son.

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Sure. I mean you nailed. He`s already a conflicted parent --


AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: I was going to say Jane -- I agree with Danny on --

SAINDON: -- he`s absolutely violent and on top of that, he is probably trying to protect his son in some sick fashion. You never know the mind of a killer, a mind of somebody that abuses animals. You have these shows based on the fact that these are lunatics and we don`t understand what they`re thinking. It`s not logical.


MARTIN: I agree with Danny on that point when he says he doesn`t really love his son, we just heard him say he was crying at a hearing to try to get custody of his son in March. Now, all of a sudden he doesn`t really love his son. It seems very contrived as a way to say, "You know what I wouldn`t take the hit for this guy. I really killed my stepson. I don`t care that much about my biological son."

I think it`s very contrived on his part. I think this guy`s manipulating the system which he has done over and over and over again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well yes. And the longer you`re in the system, the longer you learn how to manipulate it. And as we`ve seen from his mug shot, he`s been in the system a long time.

And I think his desire to get custody of his son had nothing to do with the fact that he loved his son. He didn`t know him to love him. It`s about power and control and possession. And you know, these men who have very little power in their lives become dictators in their own family. And we see this with him, violent with his wife, violent with his stepson. Ultimately he admits to killing his stepson and now he`s, well, he got his son in trouble.

I mean frankly the last thing I could say, Danny, to bring it back to you, his son probably wouldn`t be on trial if the father hadn`t initially said, oh, my son did it and oh, well, he`s going to be tried as an adult. Oh, well, never mind.

CEVALLOS: That goes to -- see, I think that may go to the alternate theory of originally -- and when I said genius, by the way people, I was being sarcastic because in his mind he thinks if I blame it on the kid, he`ll end up in juvenile court. Maybe he didn`t anticipate he would be charged as an adult, a direct file as we call it, and maybe then he flipped the script. Once he gets charged as an adult, now he tries to be the clever guy and comes up with the "I`m the most evil man in the world."

Now there is a fact, you do not, once your child is removed from you, you have to demonstrate to the court you want him back. I highly doubt all he had to do was go to court and cry once. He probably had to go to parenting classes. He probably had to take drug tests.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You lost me right there. I agreed with you up until then. But we have seen time and again where Social Services drops the ball and gives horrible parents back their kids.

SILBER: Big time.

CEVALLOS: Yes, but not one hearing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All the time it`s happened. I can`t tell you the number of horror stories where kids are thriving in foster care and some drug addict parent walking out of the woodwork and gets the kid back when they`re screaming, "Don`t let them take me".

It happens all the time. Our social services system is messed up in that regard.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

And listen, here is the thing. This is my mantra. If we don`t learn from cases like this and for example the Jodi Arias case, we`re wasting an opportunity to study the criminal mind. That`s why I`ve written this new book about the Jodi Arias case that hits August 20th -- "Exposed: the secret life of Jodi Arias". a portion of the net profits go to charity. My book is dedicated to victim Travis Alexander and his siblings.

You can preorder it online now or go to I worked hard on it. I hope you read it and tell me what you think about it.

On the other side the search for a beautiful young woman. We`re going to talk exclusively to her devastated mother who wants us to help her find her precious daughter.

Stay right there. That`s on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s beyond unbelievable. And all we want to do is get her back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he she moved in, she seemed real sweet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just said "I`m scared" and then two minutes later "dot, dot, dot". I kept calling her and texting her but I didn`t get any answer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s really unnerving and scary as a woman that someone went missing on this very block.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody see something, somebody call. Somebody say something.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The desperate search for a beautiful winning woman tonight. Dana Bonanno vanished two weeks ago after sending her mom a panicked text message which read, quote, "I`m scared," end quote. This stunning 33-year-old woman last seen by her roommates at her apartment in the Green Point section of Brooklyn, New York.

According to her mom, Dana called at about 10:00 p.m. And said she was being harassed by her roommates and wanted an attorney. Her roommates claim she left the apartment at around 11:00 p.m. and never came back.

Straight out to my very special guest, Dana`s mother, Donna O`Connor. Donna, first of all thank you for joining us exclusively tonight. My heart goes out to you. I know that you are going through a living hell at this point. We want to help. What do you know about your daughter`s disappearance that you can tell us?

O`CONNOR: Again, she called me about two minutes to 10:00. And she said -- she was very excited. I couldn`t understand what she was saying. So I asked her, I said would you please slow down and let me know what you`re talking about.

And she hung up and she called back when she was calmer. And she said that she needed to have an attorney. And I said an attorney for what? And she said that she needed -- her roommates were harassing her and they were talking behind her back and looking at her computer and I said, well, you don`t need an attorney then. I said what you need to do is call 911 or go to the police and ask them.

She said "Ok, I`m going to hang up and call now." Didn`t hear from her, so I texted her and I said did you call them? And then she texted back finally at about ten after 11:00 and she said that -- she said "I`m scared." And I said -- so I texted her back and I said, "Scared of what?" And then two minutes later she said "dot, dot, dot". That`s all she said. Then that was the last that I heard from her.

I found out subsequently from a friend that she texted her also and said "I`m scared". But that was about ten minutes after she had texted me. Not with any information or anything like that. And I thought that you know, she has anxiety and I thought perhaps that that`s what it was. She`s been laid off from work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this. I just want to jump in. Did police interview these roommates? Have they been cleared?

O`CONNOR: They have absolutely been cleared. Even an ex-boyfriend, they`ve cleared him also.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So she`s upset and she walks out onto the streets of Green Point, Brooklyn which --

O`CONNOR: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- very gentrified but it can also be dangerous if you walk a certain area.

O`CONNOR: It can.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s -- any city could be dangerous.

O`CONNOR: Right. Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s take a short break. We`re going to be back. We want to help you. Stay right there.

O`CONNOR: Thank you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day, send your pet pics to

Bronson -- got a toy there, don`t you? Yes, you do. Bronson, nobody`s going to get it. Holly says "I`m bored. I`m yawning or maybe I`m barking." You decide. And there`s Skittles. She`s hiding in her special little park. She says "No, this is my clubhouse. You can`t come in." And Jonathan says, "I think I`m going to take a bath in this foot soaker."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beautiful Dana Bonanno went missing two weeks ago in Brooklyn, New York. Donna, you say you contacted police the day after your daughter went missing but they told you they could not file a report because your daughter is 33 and does not have a history of abuse.

We reached out to the New York City Police Department. We are awaiting their response. How many days did it take for a missing person`s report to be filed, Donna?

O`CONNOR: Well I actually contacted them the next day, which was the 23rd. I had tried contacting Dana a few times and when I didn`t hear back from her, I decided that the police were the next option. I called Domestic Violence because I felt -- well, she said that she had been stalked by her roommate. So I thought, well, at least that`s a start.

I called them every day and they did say that she`s 33 and she can leave when he wants. She can do. There wasn`t anything that said that she could not or that she was having a problem. So it was actually between Friday and Saturday some time, the Domestic Violence officer went to the house and talked to the roommates, saw her room because I had called every day to say that she had not contacted anyone.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just have to say that we are out of time. But I want you to know we`re going to stay on your case.

O`CONNOR: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re not going to let your daughter be ignored.

O`CONNOR: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have called the police department. We are waiting to hear back and we`re going stay on top of it and we`re going to help you find your precious daughter.

O`CONNOR: Thank you very much. I appreciate everything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You want to save money. I want to save money. We all want to save money. Well tonight HLN money expert Clark Howard is here to tell us how to save money. Clark has an amazing new book out called "Clark Howard`s Living Large for the Long Haul". This is a must read for anyone who wants to save money.

Now, I got to tell you, Clark, I love your suggestions. Tell us why you wrote this book.

CLARK HOWARD, HLN HOST: The reason I wrote this book is that we`ve been through six years of hardship in the United States. And what happens after a while is that people think things that have been lousy economically for them in their own lives, for the country, it`s been like that for so long in the rearview mirror, they think looking forwards that`s where things are going to be.

And that is not true. In spite of the reversals in hardships that so many Americans have had the last six years, there is opportunity, there is a future and I wanted to give ideas about how you could grab hold of that, how you could have that wonderful positive future in your own life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, listen, you have incredible profiles of people who are doing very imaginative things to save money.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love the story of the Johnsons. Tell us about them.

HOWARD: Yes. This is so neat. Ok. So the Johnsons live in semi- rural downstate Illinois. You know anything not Chicago is downstate. They had $90,000 plus of student loan debt and they were facing having that debt it looked like for the rest of their lives. And they thought what is the major surgery they can do in their lives that would deal with this? And these two professionals got rid of their cars. They ride bikes, they ride public transportation. And Illinois winters are not mild and they`ll typically ride 12 miles each way on a winter day. They do their grocery shopping as you see there with the cart behind, any shopping they do. And they, in just a few short years, by eliminating auto expense in their lives have wiped out their debt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is a perfect example of what you offer in this book. It`s good for the environment. It`s good for you body. These two are in good shape. They don`t need a gym membership. All of these things fall into place when they make that one little change and your book is filled with dozens and dozens -- hundreds of examples like this.

HOWARD: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And each one of these changes, Clark, is so amazing because it can save thousands and thousands of dollars over the course of a year. I gave up paper towels and I can`t tell you how much money I have saved. I don`t know if I`m included in your book. But I have to tell you, you guys, you must read Clark Howard`s "Living Large for the Long Haul".

It`s a life changer. And that`s what we`re doing here. We`re changing lives.

HOWARD: Right. You know, that`s so true. Because, you know, telling somebody to give up their car -- that may not be right for 99 percent of people but it was right for them. It`s whatever change in your life allows you to find some space, some freedom, some power; where instead of you owing bills, being owned by your bills, you`re in charge, you`re in control.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this woman took to walking, power walking and it`s helped her deal with her diabetes. So many great stories.

Clark, I love your attitude and --

HOWARD: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- I know your book is going to be a bestseller. Please read it.

Nancy Grace is up next.